The Evolution Of English Furniture
Amongst this industry today, two key influences have been recognised upon the development of furniture; one being the materials that are made available to manufactures and secondly, customer demand. The fact is that fashion trends are constantly evolving (as is the case with clothing). However when the issue of furniture is raised amongst society, heavy comparisons are generally made between the types of antique furniture and modern furniture that are made available us within the market, today.
Many people in the present day tend to make a mockery of surviving antiques, and fail to appreciate their true value; surviving antiques are more often than not found in form of chairs, tables, wardrobes, a vast variety of different furnishings that would be suited all over the everyday, working home. Many fail to realise that antiques, of up to almost five hundred years old, are extremely durable and are completely safe to continue using today. People tend to wonder how it is even possible that furniture of such age and maturity can possibly last over a period of decades; the answer is simple; materials. Solid, top quality wood was once used to manufacture such furnishings, preparing them for everyday wear and tear. The very distinctive styles carved and imprinted in to the furnishings were also an example of the hard work and efforts but in to the manufacturing of these pieces. In such an era, fine craftsmanship was very much appreciated by consumers; due to this mass admiration, furnishings were in high demand due to the spectacular quality, durability and talent behind such sculptures.
As a result of this fine artistry, furniture, rather than regularly purchased, was instead passed down through the generations, keeping pieces within the family. As this furniture was able to withstand time, and wear and tear, furniture managed to accrue in value, right up until the end when they were no longer needed. During the Elizabethan era, oak was the key material used; using oak would ensure that furniture could endure a variety of harsh conditions it may have been exposed to. Furniture had a quality finish; all beds would have been built as a four-poster bed, complete with a canopy above and carved posts, boasting grandeur. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, chest drawers had also been introduced to collections boasting gracious and decorative carvings. The popularity of such furniture became more and more evident as, what is still commonly known as the Queen Anne chair complete with curved lines exquisite upholstery and curiously shaped legs, dominated the majority furniture shops. However moving in to the twentieth century, carpenters began to make use of much finer woods such as walnut, mahogany, cherry and rosewood; such materials have now become very costly and having furniture made from such materials will not fair cheap.
At present the more popular materials used for the likes of kitchen furniture, dining room furniture and bedroom furniture sets would be chrome, PVC, plastic and glass, used in conjunction with a vast majority of colours. Laminating certain materials has now also become a cost effective solution to manufacturing furniture such as chairs and tables. This particular mechanism also allows for unique and exclusive designs to be produced with other materials. Also, the once popular armchair has now been refined as settees with padded cushions, making the most of a range of versatile textiles. Progression brings about change; however modern interiors do not necessarily suit every household. Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian properties still exist today and which define what a ‘home’ should be and how it should feel. Such properties will only benefit from interiors of the yesteryears.